After perhaps playing a little gamesmanship at the start of this week, Bills head coach Sean McDermott said on Friday that Buffalo will be without both of their starting linebackers on Sunday when the team travels to Miami to face the Dolphins in Week 2.
McDermott, who said both injuries were “pretty much” not long term on Monday, later added on Friday via video conference that it’s “too early” to tell if either Tremaine Edmunds (shoulder) or Matt Milano (hamstring) could end up on the team’s IR. A bit different answer than expected from McDermott, a guy who choses his words wisely.
Not shooting down the idea of the injured reserve list immediately turns some heads a tad.
While the preferred option is to have both Edmunds and Milano in the game day lineup… a lack of linebacker options brings one name to mind… how about Lorenzo Alexander?
According to McDermott when asked about the prospect of asking Alexander if he has some free time on Sunday afternoon over the next few weeks…the coach said that call hasn’t happened just yet.
“That’s a little premature,” McDermott said. “You know how we feel about Lorenzo. Love him. Love his family. Once a Bill, always a Bill. In this case, we’re two days out from the game, so… unfortunate that we don’t have Tremaine or Matt, or Del’Shawn (Phillips), but at the same time we’ve got to rally the troops and [it’s] next man up.”
Alexander, 37, retired from the Bills and NFL following the 2019 season. While, at the time certainly closing the door pretty sternly, he’s since lightened up on his stance in regard to potentially returning to the Bills.
A little timeline of Alexander’s comment show that:
- Locker cleanout day, post-Texans playoff loss: “I’m done, I’m done. I made the decision a while ago, and so I’m at peace with it.” Adding: “I’m 100 percent sure.”
- May 2020: “All I was saying to (Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott)…if y’all get in a dire need… injuries, which you never know, I’m staying ready, just in case.”
- July 2020: “I’m ready, I’m working. You never known, you never know. They make that run, call me up Brandon (Beane), you know I’ll be ready for you.”
- Last week via the Buffalo News: “Nah, unless it’s serious. But if they do it won’t be until they have a better understanding of how long the recovery will be.”
Alexander could certainly come back to the Bills, as shown via his thoughts it’s not a yes… but it’s not a no.
Reading between the lines, it could be a scenario where it truly depends on the severity of the injuries to Buffalo’s linebackers. During the 2020 COVID-19 season, IR means players can return to playing after only three games, a shorter timeframe than what we’re used to, so even if Edmunds and Milano end up on there, it could be a temporary thing.
Then again, three games in the NFL is nearly a quarter of the season.
Regardless, even if Alexander does return, the Bills will likely roll out former undrafted rookie Tyrel Dodson and veteran AJ Klein against the Dolphins in Week 2. One has to wonder if their performances while filling in also plays a part in any Alexander-related decisions.